Eclipse Gears Up

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With a type certificate (announced Sept. 30) that allows operation everywhere except in known icing and over water, Eclipse Aviation can now begin tackling its order backlog for the Eclipse 500 very light jet. There should be more about this at the National Business Aviation Association convention (Oct. 17, 18, 19) but, according to Sharecast, a financial markets Web site, Eclipse is aiming for "an annualised level of 750 planes by the end of 2007" and is reporting an order book of 2,500 aircraft. Eclipse has never released much about its business operation (it's privately held and doesn't have to) but some of its suppliers are publicly traded and are obliged to tell shareholders what's going on as it relates to Eclipse. Among the publicly traded companies is Hampson Industries (identified in the Sharecast report), which is making the empennage and "flight critical advanced composite structures" for the plane. Hampson stock rose sharply on news of the certification.